Cotton Candy Black Tea

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Black Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Southern Boy Teas
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec 11 oz / 326 ml

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101 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I am having an increadibly tough month. I am one of the co-organizers of Ruta de las Iglesias. It is a 10km race that goes through the colonial down town of Quito. While I love doing it, it is a...” Read full tasting note
  • “I really do quite like this one cold brewed with a little sweetner. After tonight’s giant mugs i have just enough for one more cup of this before it’s out of the cupboard. May not get to any...” Read full tasting note
  • “Oh this is good. I cold steeped it overnight and I couldn’t wait for later in the day to try it out. I love the new black tea base, I taste it first and foremost and I really like it. I’ll have to...” Read full tasting note
  • “12 Days of Tea #1! Also, 1000th tasting note! Wooooooooo!!!!!! Last time I tried this tea as a sample, it was not great. I couldn’t really taste the cotton candy. This time however? WOAH!...” Read full tasting note

From 52teas

This week’s tea of the week is a real gem. I am enjoying a big icy stein of it as I write this. I’m sure it’s good hot too, but as an iced tea, it’s amazing. A friend of the family is over visiting and he insists it’s “like a carnival in your mouth.”

I’m having a hard time trying to come up with words to describe the aroma and flavor, except that it tastes like cotton candy–which is basically spun sugar that has been a bit caramelized in the process.

This week, we are also testing a new black tea base which is a blend of Chinese, Assam, and Darjeeling black teas. I’m quite enjoying the depth of the blend even with the very strong and captivating cotton candy flavor dancing on my tastebuds, there is still a rich and complex black tea base that is definitely present.

This is a tea you’re not going to want to miss out on, particularly if you want an awesome iced tea that’s sure to garner appreciative remarks from whomever you serve it to.
Incidentally, we have more iced tea blends coming in the near future. I’m working out the final packaging details, but I believe we are going to be dividing it up into actual teabags that yield two-quarts of iced tea! Stay tuned for those.

Our Tea of the Week for the week of May 14, 2012

About 52teas View company

At, you will find unique, hand-blended artisan loose leaf teas: a new limited edition creation every week of the year. We pride ourselves on offering truly unique, one-of-a-kind tea blends that you won’t find anywhere else.

101 Tasting Notes

1328 tasting notes

We actually had this one late for a number of reasons.

1. As the majority of people on Steepster having this 52teas advent box are on the North American continent, I’m several hours ahead of them. In order to make sure that I don’t spoil everybody’s surprise by having it at a time which is correct for me but way too early for all the rest of you, I have decided to drink on the correct days (or as close as that can be managed) and post with a day’s delay.) Possibly this is silly because someone has to be the first, but there you are.

2. Husband was under the weather and having the first tea of the box, and this flavour in particular, seemed a Bad Idea Indeed. It’s not really the sort of flavour that settles one’s stomach.

I had already peeked at what it was before he came home, so that’s how I knew it probably wasn’t something we should have on that day. I have to say that it suited me quite well to wait a bit. This company does some pretty bizarre flavours sometimes, and I have to say that to me this is one of the more crazy ones. Even now I cannot imagine this as a tea flavour. I couldn’t imagine it being very good, at least. So frankly, I was feeling a bit scared of it.

And do you know what the truly absurd thing is? I love caramel or toffee flavoured tea, so I’m not sure why this, also a sugary substance, seems so outlandish. It’s sort of the same sort of ‘family’, isn’t it?

Well. I thought that it would probably either be horrid or it would be very nice. I hoped it wouldn’t be horrid. I hoped it wouldn’t be totally sugared, because I just don’t do sweetener in tea. For many people a modicum of sweetener in a flavoured tea seems to bring out the flavouring more. I have tried it a few times, but that has never worked for me. All I get out of adding sweetener to tea is astringency. It has certainly never ever EVER made anything ‘pop’ in any sort of desirable way. Even the smoothest unbreakable Chinese black can be ruined completely for me if sweetener is added. So I’m afraid that what I was expecting here was a cup of sugared black. WAY too sugared black.

Even so, I’m trying to keep an open mind here. Keep myself prepared for the possibility of a positive surprise.

Well. It doesn’t smell like candy floss to me. It smells more like marshmallows and dry milk to be honest. Given my misgivings about this as a flavour to begin with, I find this rather reassuring. It makes me think that while it might not actually taste like candy floss to me, at least there’s a chance that it won’t just be black tea with sugar in it. Because let’s face it. Candy floss is nothing but sugar.

After steeping it actually does smell like candy floss. Possibly because it’s hot how. That is to say, it smells strongly of warm sugar.

Sceptical Cat is sceptical.

At least it still has that marshmallow-y feel to it. I’m not a huge fan of candy floss, except when I visit Tivoli in Copenhagen. It’s the only place where I want to eat the stuff and that’s more because of the feel of the place than for the having of candy floss at all. It’s… It belongs there. In other words, I’ve only had a few times in my life and have never been able to finish one off. I can eat maybe half and then I’m done with it. Possibly this is also part of why the flavour in tea strikes me as so absurd. If this had been released on April 1st, I would have wondered if it was an April Fool’s joke. (Although nothing really beats the infamous Tuna Melt Green Incident). But I do like marshmallows and that sort of foamy sweets, so…

Right. Enough with the dragging of heels. I’m going to taste it now.

I’ll count to three and then I’ll sip.

One …


Two and a half…

Two and three quarters…


Tastes… weird. It’s not quite the ‘black tea with sugar’ phenomenon that I had feared, but it’s pretty close. Neither as it candy floss. Even less is it those marshmallows I keep smelling. I don’t know what this is, but it’s not something I’m sorry I missed out on. To me, this is just some sort of generic sweetness, complete with accompanying astringency and stickyness, although not much this time.

I feel I ought to attempt to analyse the flavour like I normally try to do, but all I’m getting here is ‘sweet black tea’. That’s it. That’s all. I tried, I really did.

This was not for me, although I suspected as much already when I saw what it was. At least it wasn’t at all as vile as I had feared. This, although, not really to my tastes at all, is at least drinkable. And I would still rather have this than real candy floss.

Seems I’m the odd woman out on this one.


brilliant! your apprehension matches mine for sure. and then i overstepped mine slightly which made it go all wrong.
i’ll be VERY interested in your thoughts on some of the 12 days to come!


“Sceptical Cat is sceptical.” LOL! Sorry you hate this so much. I’m in love with it myself, but I also LOVE real cotton candy. I think it’s hilarious that it’s called candy floss in Europe. You don’t floss your teeth with it!


CHAroma, I wouldn’t say I ‘hated’ it. If I did, I would have called it undrinkable and the points would be red. I just didn’t care for it much. Also, neither is it made of cotton! ;)

Shmiracles, no spoilers please. :) I tend to have a preference for the simpler sorts of blends from this company. All those cake-ish ones and that sort of stuff have never really managed to win my heart even thought they’re hugely popular.


I think it looks more like cotton than floss. :P Even though we have very different taste preferences, I always thoroughly enjoy your tasting notes. You should write a book on tea! I bet you’d make the NY Times Bestseller list. Easy.


My experiences with this tea were very similar. And w00t, Tivoli! Never got to go despite visiting Copenhagen HOW many times last year. Oh well.


Incendiare, unless you plan on going on any of the rides it quite expensive to get in. Last time I was there, I was spending a few days in Copenhagen and had bought this tourist card which gave me free access or discounts to a lot of tourist attractions (including the zoo! Yay!) and I could also use it on the public transport. If you’re not going as specifically a tourist it’s not worth it to buy, but if you are I highly recommend doing so as there is definitely money to save. Anyway, it also gave me access to Tivoli but not to the rides. Since my hotel was not too far from there, I went in one evening to take a walk and have a cappucino at one of the cafes in there. It was a quite nice evening and I had some candy floss too. :) Only barely got my cappucino though, as the barista tried to talk me into buying a large one instead of the small one that I wanted. I knew I couldn’t drink a large one and the difference in price wasn’t very big, but what if I could only actually drink the same amount as was in the small cup? He seemed incapable of understanding this until he finally realised that I wasn’t going to budge. It was a fairly good cappucino, but I was tempted to leave a third of it just to prove my point. (Didn’t though. Was in Need.)


Oh yeah, I purchased that cOPENhagen card the first time I went but ran out of time to visit Tivoli. Spent my time bussing around the city, admiring the castles, hanging out at the national museum, and going on a canal tour instead. Damn, I love that city.

I didn’t think people could be so pushy there? Luckily never experienced that in Denmark. But way to be for standing your ground. :)


I never have either, only that one time. Usually that sort of thing occurs when you’ve bought something in a shop and they ask you if you are interested in joining their member’s club or something which means you get a little card and access to some discounts or their news letter or various competitions or whatnot. It doesn’t generally cost anything but it helps them ensure the customers come back, so they’ll usually make sure to get the litany of advantages out even if you’ve said no the first time. I’ve never had anybody continue try to convince me after the second no. I think maybe the sales people are paid differently here than they are in America, so it wouldn’t occur. I don’t think their salary is sales related. I know it isn’t in restaurants and such and hasn’t been for many years. We’ve done away with the tip ages ago and it’s just incorporated in the prices on the menu instead. (Makes it difficult for us to pay for a meal abroad though. So if we don’t leave one, it’s not because we didn’t want to. It’s just not something we’re used to having to remember to do!)

Afterwards of course, after he’d given in, I of course thought of a hundred great points I could have made, but then it was too late. Also, there weren’t a lot of people in the cafe at the time, so I also think he was feeling slightly bored maybe.

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4847 tasting notes

Last night, I received a request to try this tea. “I’m eager to know what you think of the new black tea base” said this request. So, I was happy to go a bit out of order and try this one. I confess that way behind in sampling my teas of the week from 52Teas … what can I say? I have so many teas to try and not enough palates or bladder space to drink them all at once.

After allowing it to cool a few moments, I took a sip, sort of casually, almost aimlessly, and my first reaction was “wow, this is a really good black tea.” Without even taking a moment to consider that this was a flavored tea, I started thinking of this as a magnificent black tea that is sweet, almost caramel-y, rich, and full-flavored. I started thinking of other “pure” black teas that are similar to this. Then I sort of shook my head when I realized that this is a flavored black tea, not some high quality, tippy, pure black.

This reaction, in my opinion, is the highest praise a tea lover can bestow upon a flavored tea, because more often than not, flavored teas are about the flavor and not so much about the tea underneath it all. Here, black tea and flavor have united seamlessly, with the flavor of cotton candy (and yes, I definitely DO taste cotton candy) highlighting the black tea in such a way as it essentially becomes a component of the tea and not an addition of flavor, if that makes sense.

And I think that this new base has everything to do with that. And let me examine this newly crafted, 52Teas’ base. It is bold and rich … much more well-rounded than 52Teas previous black tea base. The background flavor is SOLID and invigorating. It is robust and flavorful: sweet, malty and has a rich, bake-y kind of background to it, reminding me quite a bit of a Fujian black tea in many ways. And this is a very good thing, indeed.

When compared to the previous blend that 52Teas has used, this one is less astringent, and without bitterness. I do not need to come up with different parameters to brew it, I can brew this just the way I’d brew other black teas: 2 1/2 minutes in boiling water in my Breville. I don’t have to adjust the temperature or the brew time to assuage the black tea base the way I used to with other 52Teas.

Frank, you’ve crafted an excellent base here. I am very pleased, and so look forward to trying your future blends with this base (particularly my double chocolate decadence)! But for now, I this one deserves high marks!

Southern Boy Teas

So happy to hear it’s a hit. I think it’s really good iced too, though from what I’m hearing (haven’t tried it myself), it doesn’t do so well as a cold-brew. We steeped it like hot tea and then iced it and I was pretty ecstatic.


I typically hot-brew my iced teas too, unless I happen to have bagged teas then I cold brew them because it’s easier. I avoid mess when I can, and I find the mess is contained easier with the hot brew method using my breville. But, I don’t usually add ice to my iced tea, as I don’t want to water it down (and I don’t have the patience to make tea ice cubes), so I just refrigerate the hot-brewed tea until it’s nice and cold. This is definitely going to be one of the next ones I chill though. I bet it’s awesome iced, but how does it compare to the rainbow sherbet? You should reblend the rainbow sherbet using your new base!!!

Southern Boy Teas

I actually have some Rainbow Sherbet coming with a completely different iced tea base, in tea bags. I’ve been hard at it filling and sealing teabags lately. New iced tea series is coming soon.


Yay! I get to spend more money. (another sarcastic Yay!)

Dylan Oxford

Hey Frank, do you ever just sell your base tea?

Southern Boy Teas

Dylan, we can. I used to keep some of them on the site, but they weren’t very popular and I hate keeping stock in pouches of tea that don’t sell. But we could.

Dylan Oxford

That makes sense. I was curious/interested because you seem really proud of this one. Well, and it sounds like it would make a good straight iced tea.

Southern Boy Teas

Our RadioactiviTEA makes a GREAT iced tea too, particularly if you like them bold and rich. I can’t flavor it though, the tea overwhelms the flavoring.

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107 tasting notes

Limited edition? WHY.

When I run out of this tea, I seriously think my life will end.**


A real review when I’m not about to be kicked off the computer.

**No, not really.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

You like it THAT much? Wow. I have it and I think it’s OK, but I’m not in love with it. Hit me up if you want to swap ;)


Yup Im with Daniel it is that good to me too! Well okay I won’t DIE if it ends but I don’t want it to end.


Seriously it IS that good!!! I’ll take anyone’s rejects. ;)


I seem to notice that those with the second batch are not as big of fans as those with batch 1. I am batch 1 – CHAroma which are you and Infusin_Susan what about you?


I’m batch 1.

Daniel Scott

Wow, you know when you reply to something in your head, but then don’t actually do it in real life and think you did? I could have sworn I replied to this days ago, but unless Steepster ate my comment, I guess not. Didn’t mean to be rude!

Susan, that is a very generous offer and I will keep it in mind. Tell me if there’s anything of mine you want?

Azzrian, I definitely have batch 1, I ordered mine the night it went up.

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470 tasting notes

I got this tea what seems like a very long time ago, and I still haven’t tried it! I try not to dip into my 52teas that often since I know I can’t get them again once they’re gone for the most part, and I just knew I would love this tea which made me even more hesitant to try it. I don’t want to love it, I want to think “oh it’s good but I can live without it.”

Well, this is a tea I can’t live without. I cold-brewed it overnight, and sweet gods of cotton candy is it perfect. At first it’s just a very nice iced tea, the black base really shines and is wonderfully layered but not too heavy. Then, BAM, cotton candy. It’s not fake or artificial, it seriously tastes like cotton candy jut melted in your mouth. And the taste lingers, filling you with giddy childhood memories of eating cotton candy at the county fair and then running around in the petting zoo on a sugar high. It is SO good, I can’t really imagine this tea hot but iced it’s…. urgh, so amazingly perfect. Thank god they’ve added iced tea bags of this, though I think I could drink a pitcher of this every day which would put me in serious tea-debt!

There’s only one thing I would add to this blend: I wish it was blue! I’m tempted to put some food dye in mine just to make it that much more like liquid cotton candy.


Oh man. I want to make a tea “soda” with this and I think I have a neon blue food coloring.


Ugh, that sounds amazing! I really hope they add this tea to their permanent collection, it’s just so tasty and versatile.


Maybe I should cold-brew the last of mine…


I’m saving this one for hot tea, and using the new Southern Boy Teas version for cold brewing and drinking iced. But yes, I definitely vote for the permanent collection too!


Now I’m kinda-sorta wishing that I had ordered a Cotton Candy teabag. Oh well!


I thought I had ordered two but I just went with one, otherwise I’d say you can have one of them!


Oh, that’s ok :) I made the decision when I sent you that list not to order one, and that’s completely fine :) I just hate that everyone talks about how good this tea is, and I didn’t taste the awesomeness!

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743 tasting notes

I used 1.25 tablespoons of dry leaf for 375 ml of water.

The dry leaf smells overwhelmingly like freshly spun cotton candy.

The brewed tea has a definite cotton candy aroma which is overpowered by the scent of black tea.

Too much astringency from the black tea base. I might have to experiment with the infusion parameters. A delightful cotton candy flavour is present in the background- it seems quite authentic as well.

As the tea cools I am getting a lemony taste from the black tea base. The bitterness backs off a little bit but the cup is slightly too bitter to enjoy.

As the tea cools further, the bitterness backs off even more. I’m starting to detect a creamy taste. There is still a bit of a bitter edge but it is quite enjoyable.

Second infusion at 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Lighter tasting but there is still enough cotton candy sugary taste to make it an enjoyable experience. There is only a slight bitterness that I experienced in the first cup.

This tea would not likely do well past the second infusion.

I might try only 1 tablespoon for 375 ml of water in the future.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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1725 tasting notes

First off, thanks for the sample Azzrian!! I so badly wanted to try this out and feel uber grateful to have the chance!
Now on to the tea… Hmmm, I’m not sure about this one. I think it’s one of those cases where there was so much hype about everyone loving it that my expectations are higher than normal. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great tea and I totally get the cotton candy association… but the “candy” part is a bit weak for my tastes. Maybe I should have used more leaf? (I thought I was being generous with my tea/water ratio!) or perhaps this would go better iced. Second steep, I added a dab of agave and it was a bit better. Oh well, it’s still very good!!! holding the rating til I try this iced. at this point though, I’d give it an 84.


If I sent you enough do try it iced! Hot brew then stick in fridge! I brew it really strong, add extra water, chill. YUMMM


This is really good iced. I found that the cotton candy flavor really seemed to come in to its own in the aftertaste, it tasted very much like yummy cotton candy.


The cotton candy taste is definitely more prominent the colder the tea is, I made a big glass iced and found the flavor fading towards the end until I threw some more ice in.


I felt the same, Indigobloom. I am really wishing I bought a teabag so I could try it iced… I’m feeling like I’m going to cave to (another) 52teas order really soon… even though Amanda will be receiving stuff to send to me.


I’m not an iced tea girl but it sounds like I must do it that way! just to see. The curiosity is niggling at me :P
Kittena- I hear ya on that one! if they had any more double choc decadence left I’d splurge myself!!

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219 tasting notes

So glad Steepster is working again this afternoon. Wrote this in the morning:

YAY! The 12 days before Christmas is finally here which means…52Teas 12 Days of Christmas!!!

Did you know that the actual 12 days of Christmas are the 12 days after Christmas that lead to Epiphany? It’s the day we celebrate the arrival of the wise men as well as the baptism of Jesus. Pretty cool.

But anywho, the tea for Day 1 is Cotton Candy black tea :) Cotton Candy is my favorite fair food and can’t get enough of it. My family did Thanksgiving at Golden Coral this year and they now have cotton candy. Sadly, they didn’t make much of it. I joked (maybe) that my whole dinner was going to be cotton candy. This definitely tastes like cotton candy. I added sugar because cotton candy is spun sugar :) YUM! Taking some to my friend Kim this morning. Sharing this tea was my Christmas gift for her. She’s on Steepster now! She’s a beautiful writer so I can’t wait to see what she has to say about the teas she tastes.


I don’t think I could wait till after Christmas to open my teas!

Good job converting another person to Steepster.


Hooray for another Steepsterite!


I don’t think I could wait either :) Although I’m already a day behind. I’m really excited my friend is on Steepster. It’s nice to have someone I actually know in real life to share this with me.

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5573 tasting notes

Sipdown (210)!

In and right back out ;)

This one comes from VariaTEA! I know she had troubles finding the Cotton Candy, so I’m hoping I don’t encounter the same issue. Dry, this does smell a little like cotton candy, although it’s a very light smell.

My parameters were the whole sample in 8 oz. of just under boiling water, steeped for two minutes and thirty seconds. Steeped up, this just smells like the 52Teas black base.

As far as the taste goes, I’m kind of alternating between “52Teas black base” and “Very generic sweet tea with cotton candy(ish) aftertaste” between sips. I’m not totally sure if I really like it, and I don’t like that the flavouring I am getting (albeit quite genericly sweet) is so sporadic. So I suppose I am having the same problem that VariaTEA had.

I don’t know – I’d like to try it again to see if I could make it taste better, but based on this cup I definitely wouldn’t want to pay for any, let alone a full pouch. Oh well, you can’t love them all and I’m thankful for the chance to try it!

EDIT: As it cooled, the generic sweetness and light cotton candy flavoring got a little more consistent.


It was too generically sugary for me, personally. Glad you kind of got that too, at least in the beginning.


I am sorry I couldn’t send more than just a cup. Honestly though, I tried it a couple of times and had the same experience. There are much better teas out there that it isn’t worth it to waste time on this.

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1060 tasting notes

This one is ok. I think I’ll like it more cold brewed or as an iced tea. That said, my kids love it. They were just about giddy to have it in their cups. Both of them said it tasted just like cotton candy. To me it just tasted like sweet tea. It does have a nice strong base tea that I appreciate. The Assam lends body and strength that helps balance out the sweetness. Thanks to VariaTEA’s generous swap I have plenty left, so I’ll keep playing around with this one.


I just got sweet tea too but I am glad your kids found the cotton candy flavor.


I’m glad I’m not the only one! My kids told me my taste buds are broken. I ordered some of the SBT Cotton Candy, so I think I’m going to compare the two. Should be fun!

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390 tasting notes

i got this gracious sample from CHAroma. thank you kindly.

i have to be the odd man out on this one… i loved the smell, but one way or another the smell did not translate to taste. the tea overpowered the taste and all the cotton candy smell dissolved.

it’s a distinct possibility that this was operator error, but i don’t have any left for a do-over. no number, not when i can’t back up my result.

… … … it smelled great!


I have not tired this specific blend from 52teas, I have tried the SBT version though. I find for most of the 52teas I have tried I keep the steep time to 2:30 or 3 minutes and use less than boiling water. Maybe 180/190F. Not sure if that will help.


I found it worked much better cold-brewed than hot!


Aww, too bad. It really needs sweetener in my opinion to bring out the cotton candy flavor, especially when it’s hot. Otherwise, it’s just a hot cup of floral black tea. Frank has an iced tea version that is super good too and in stock! Only $3!

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